More than 150 K-12 and higher education leaders from around the country traveled to El Paso to see firsthand how The University of Texas at El Paso and its regional education partners have implemented initiatives to ensure that new teachers are ready to meet the demands of real classroom settings. At Purple Heart Elementary School in the Socorro Independent School District, participants had the opportunity to see the model in action, visit classrooms supported by student teachers, and hear from district stakeholders about the transformation efforts. Photo: JR Hernandez / UTEP Marketing and Communications
(UTEP) More than 150 K-12 and higher education leaders from around the country traveled to West Texas to see firsthand how The University of Texas at El Paso and its regional education partners have been able to implement a series of initiatives designed to ensure that new teachers are ready to meet the demands of real classroom settings.
The visit was organized by US PREP, an education research and policy coalition based in Lubbock, Texas, and one of the primary partners in the UTEP College of Education’s efforts to realign its teacher preparation initiatives.
A cornerstone of those initiatives is the Miner Teacher Residency, a robust yearlong student teaching experience that comes with a sustainable stipend for teacher candidates.
“Learning from best practices at both the collegiate and K-12 district levels, UTEP has reimagined teacher preparation over the last 3 years to ensure that new teachers are prepared to meet the diverse needs of El Paso’s students,” said Clifton Tanabe, Ph.D., dean of the College of Education at UTEP. “In addition to the teacher residency, this new model includes deep partnerships with our school districts, practice-based coursework, and more. The UTEP model has gained national attention as we continue to set a high bar for teacher quality.”
Over two days starting on Nov. 9., educators from states such as New York, Arkansas and California visited several schools in the Paso del Norte region. Through presentations, workshops and informal discussions, visitors learned how UTEP’s College of Education, in collaboration with local school districts and other partner organizations, was able to revamp its educator preparation program.
At Purple Heart Elementary School, in the Socorro Independent School District, participants of the tour had the opportunity to see the model in action, visit classrooms supported by residents, and hear from district stakeholders about the transformation efforts.
“We’ve achieved this progress by working hand-in-hand with our school district partners to make data-driven decisions about teacher preparation,” said Erika Mein, Ph.D., associate dean for undergraduate studies and educator preparation in UTEP’s College of Education. “Ensuring the highest-quality preparation of teachers in our community is truly a cross-sector team effort, and we are grateful for our community and philanthropic partners who have supported the residency since its inception.”